In our fortnightly column ‘Great Sexpectations’ the Woman Alive panel answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us a confidential email on email@example.com and ask us anything. Here, we help a reader who needs to make money, and wants to know if she can do it through selling pictures of herself online.
Dear Woman Alive,
I’m a student and in a considerable amount of debt. A friend of mine - who I thought was in a similar financial position - has recently starting splashing the cash quite a lot and going on holidays abroad and it made me curious about how she was doing it. When I asked her, she told me that she has a secret account online and sends sexy images of herself for money.
She said she doesn’t show her face or any recognisable body part in any of them and that she has never met any of the people who buy the photos. It’s completely anonymous. She has been doing this for almost a year and has made over £40k! She has paid off her student debt and has just been approved for a mortgage and I have to admit I’m really tempted. Is this bad?
This feels like a practical dilemma as well as a moral one. Am I right?
This feels like a practical dilemma as well as a moral one. Am I right? Concern around money is sadly getting more and more common and I feel for people who end up in large amounts of debt in order to further their studies and set themselves up for a future career. On a recent episode of the Woman Alive podcast, host and WA editor Tola Doll Fisher spoke with someone from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) who was once £50,000 in debt but now works as a money coach. She also spoke to an entrepreneur who set up a company called The Humble Penny with the sole purpose of helping people become financially independent. You can listen to the podcast episode here, contact CAP or reach out to The Humble Penny.
Now, regarding the dilemma around the morality of this endeavour, I’ll be honest, it sounds pretty lucrative. And selling sex – or the promise/idea of sex – is by no means a new business idea. Everyone knows that sex sells, the difference is, it has previously been relegated to a rather seedy source of income chosen as a last resort. These days, and potentially with changing attitudes to sex and body autonomy, people are more open about using their bodies to make money, whether that’s in person or online.
Everyone knows that sex sells, the difference is, it has previously been relegated to a rather seedy source of income chosen as a last resort.
I’m guessing your friend has an OnlyFans account or similar? Set up initially to help creatives to make money by connecting directly with their audience, it quickly became flooded with sexual content exchanged for money. I remember at school, learning how supply and demand worked in the business world. And I suppose that as more people become exposed to explicit sexual content and pornographic imagery in more normalised settings (i.e. in the everyday content we consume online and on screen), the more people will seek to expand those experiences outside of that.
You’re probably by now wondering why I’m apparently doing a deep dive that you haven’t asked for. The reason I’m doing it is to make clear that the service being offered here, while it may seem to be pretty low risk (you say it is: ‘completely anonymous’), is a modern form of exchanging sex for money. So my question to you is, are you happy doing that? Is this something your spirit can reconcile with easily?
Read more questions answered in our Great Sexpectations series
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we read: ‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.’
It is very unfair that we live in a world with such economic disparity and I can’t speak to and would never (and should never) judge people for what they do when desperate for money. The recent rise of what is being called ‘survival sex’ is truly a real issue. But since you’ve asked us, it feels like a potentially slippery slope to go down.
If any of these issues have affected you, you can call Premier Lifeline for support. Premier Lifeline is a national, confidential helpline offering a listening ear, emotional and spiritual support from a Christian perspective. If you would like someone to talk with and pray for you, call Premier Lifeline on 0300 111 0101.
Our Great Sexpectations column is written by a number of different contributors who make up the Woman Alive panel. If you have a question for us, email: firstname.lastname@example.org,